High school basketball teaser
Kirsten Fiscus/The Anniston Star

SPRING GARDEN — Monday signaled the start of postseason prep basketball around Alabama, and Jacksonville Christian wasted no time advancing.

After Katy Bryant coached JCA’s girls team to a come-from-behind 48-42 win over Faith Christian, her father, Tommy Miller, helped the Thunder boys to a 56-47 against the Lions.

The pair of wins advance JCA into the semifinals of the Class 1A, Area 10 boys and girls tournaments. Bryant and the girls, who are now 9-13, will face top-seeded Spring Garden today at 5:30 p.m. at Spring Garden. Miller and the boys, now 11-12, will play Sacred Heart at Miller Gym on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

“(Spring Garden) can score,” Bryant said. “They’re probably the best shooting team in the state. They really spread you out, but can beat you inside, too. We are just going to go out there and play our best.”

The recipe for Bryant’s win Monday night started with two Cupps and finished with Sydney Hancock. Briah Cupp, a senior, had a team-high six first quarter points, before Kylie Cupp sprinkled in seven during the second and third quarters. Hancock scored 11 of her team-high 23 points in final eight minutes.

The effort by the trio came after Emily Sills’ eight first-quarter points helped Faith Christian take a 17-11 lead into the second quarter. However, three first-quarter fouls on Sydnee Johnson limited her ability to produce for the Lions as she was held scoreless after knocking down two 3-point shots in the first quarter.

“We started the game just not good,” Bryant said. “We have two girls with the flu and one isn’t even here with the flu. We’ve already beat them twice, but it’s hard to beat anyone three times. (Faith Christian) was making every shot, but I told my girls they have to keep playing.

“Sydney Hancock is a weapon and I knew if we would just hang around, she’d take over the game.”

JCA’s top performers:

—Hancock, 23 points, four rebounds

—Briah Cupp, 14 points, six assists, three rebounds

—Kylie Cupp, six points, six rebounds, three steals

Faith Christian’s top performers:

—Sills, 17 points

—Kristin Covington, 11 points

—Logan Boyd, eight points

Jacksonville Christian boys 56, Faith Christian 47: Like the girls, Miller and the boys kept their heads leveled despite a controversial foul call while Faith Christian’s Malcolm Carlisle was shooting a 3-point shot in the closing seconds of the second quarter.

Carlisle went to the free throw line and knocked down all three attempts to give the Lions a 27-25 halftime lead.

Faith Christian’s inability to score during the third quarter gave JCA the opening it needed to take control of the game. The Thunder outscored the Lions 19-6 after halftime to take a 44-33 advantage into the fourth.

Back-to-back 3-point baskets by Beau Conley cut the Thunder lead to seven with 3:01 left in the game, but the Lions were never able to get any closer.

“We made a couple of mistakes and had some things go against us, like right before the half and being down at the half,” Miller said. “We could’ve let that upset us, but we didn’t. I felt like we kept our head and came out and didn’t let adversity affect us.”

JCA’s top performers:

—Kobe Messer, 22 points, 11 rebounds

—Chase Vinson, 19 points, 14 rebounds, four blocks, three assists

—Eli Fair, 11 rebounds, six points

Faith Christian’s top performers:

—Carlisle, 18 points, 15 rebounds, four steals

—Michael McGraw, 10 points, eight assists, four rebounds

—Conley, nine points